DigiBronyMLP: The Scholar of our Time
I have done it. I’ve watched every video in the DigiBronyMLP “ESSENTIAL DIGIBRO” playlist. I spent over two months of my life watching this overweight, neckbearded otaku with terrible fashion sense, embarrassing materialism, and a fetish for underaged cartoon girls talk about anime criticism and media analysis… for over two months. I have listened to 1,162 minutes ― Nineteen and a half hours ― of this nerdy, American, marijuana-infested voice serenade me with sweet nothing about his ideas on anime, his ideas on what art should be, his philosophy on what people should look for in anime, on the nature of anime itself, on the nature of creation, the nature of existence, and the nature of simply being a part of this subculture that will never, ever become mainstream, and how much, despite all the neurotic, self-hating tendencies that he shares with all great men, he still refuses to shut. The fuck. Up.
And it was fucking awesome.
Look. Real talk. I shit on Digibro a lot. It’s deserved; he’s a gigantic dork with a dying YouTube channel who spends way too much time in his bedroom smoking up, jerking off, and vlogging while drunk his ideas on some outdated Chinese cartoons that only other gigantic dorks care enough to watch. He’s fifty pounds away from being the otaku poster child, and the comedy of the way he presents himself is offset by the tragedy of his mediocre existence. He’s a tortured soul with an obsession for understanding art, and his reason for existence is to have other people understand the type of person he is, what people like him enjoy, and to appreciate the intrinsic weirdness of our sheltered society so we can hear the opinions of people like Digibro instead of self-censoring for the sake of ignoring a reality that will always exist. The emotional core of his videos is empathy. And though his opinions are presented with authority, he is not an authoritarian. I mean no exaggeration when I consider him a genius. He has been one of my greatest influences over the past few years, and I hope I can follow in his footsteps without following his self-destruction.
Art is hard. Talking about art is hard. Curating it is hard, as evidenced by my garbage website design and nonsensical concept. What is Frogesay? Hell, what is Froge? You’re telling me I can just write some random bullshit on the Internet without a set theme without expectation of it being an instant commercial success? And do I expect to watch a single twenty-hour playlist of the emotional and logical range of one of the greatest critics of our time and immediately understand everything there is to know about art? Because I don’t. Indeed, I disagree with a lot of what Digibro says, especially his postmodern stances regarding the non-objectivity of art and the greatest good of art being emotional impact, even in arthouse situations where there are no higher-order narrative constructions such as plot and character. But the point of these dissertations isn’t agreement; it’s presentation of different ideas and philosophies that you can selectively use to augment your own philosophy, and as a result create work that is wholly and uniquely yours.
The insights that Digibro provides aren’t necessarily presented as fact. Rather, they’re presented as the most accurate summaries of an internal philosophical discourse that Digibro has with himself every day, all the time, all uploaded on YouTube for the enjoyment of intelligent individuals who aren’t afraid to admit that they, too, are just plain weird. Eccentricity isn’t a net good, nor is it a net bad. It’s just there. I’m eccentric, Digibro is eccentric, the background radiation of even enjoying anime is eccentric. In more direct terms, we’re all a bunch of autists who are thinking way too hard about children’s cartoons. And why? Because it makes us feel good to know that we’re smarter than the people who give us our entertainment. It makes us feel like part of the elite who have seen past the veil of consumerism and have peered into the decadence of what true art really is. It makes us feel like men.
And there’s an art to the construction of Digibro’s playlist, as well. The very first video is a four-minute introduction to what this “art” shit is all about (that Anthony Fantano has astonishingly commented on), titled “Art Is All About Pressing Your Buttons!”. From this earliest evidence of a more emotionally-stable Digibro, we immediately dive into the second video titled “‘OBJECTIVELY GOOD’ DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST”, which is a solipsistic rant about the non-objectivity of anything and how we can only ever view things in terms of our perceptions of reality and what it allegedly is.
Being an empiricist fellow myself, I found this a bunch of postmodernist nonsense with no pragmatic use beyond a cynicism that declares talking about art is hard, and which ignores the universal tropes of media consumption that can be applied to every single piece of media ever made, almost as if there is an intrinsic objectivity to all existence, art included, and the idea that you can’t determine the intrinsic goodness of arbitrary things is easily disprovable by creating a set of standards for efficiency regarding what that thing is supposed to accomplish and measuring the thing in question against those standards. As Galileo said, “measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so” ― you know, empiricism. In terms of determining the quality of art, we can consider aggregating sets of opinions about art together and giving them a score based on the average consensus of the quality of the art in question, which nobody has ever thought of before. Whether or not you personally disagree with the effectiveness of a work of art in appealing to your personal sensibilities or the means of aggregating opinions on art, the idea that there is no objectivity in art because there is no objectivity in anything is useless philosphical whinging and is demonstrably false on a practical level.
As we continue on through this college course of anime discourse, we find a story appears. From the initial two videos detailing the extremes of Digibro’s philosophical positions, we get a series of inoffensive, yet interesting videos detailing the methods of understanding anime from its objective facets (lol) and taking heed to understanding aspects of anime that isn’t strictly from an animation or a plotting perspective, instead focusing on a combination of the two that reinforces each other and which Digibro encourages you to understand to more wholly appreciate anime from multiple perspectives. Starting on video 18, “Why Context Matters ― A Meditation on Lucky Star”, we get a series of meta-analyses on the anime community, the trends of anime creation, and genreatic distinctions between various forms of anime. This round ends on video 30 in the centre of the playlist: his masterpiece video, “We Have Accepted Mediocrity”, which decries the state of the medium in a manner than I can most accurate describe as love.
From there we get a four-hour long analysis on one of the most soulless, corporate-created, nonsensical anime ever created: The Asterisk War. From the fluff piece first act comes the second act of this playlist, where it puts you down in front of the Titanic of anime analysis and says “Right, you’ve had your fun. Now suffer through this garbage with me or fuck off back to Weenie Hut Jr.”. This is the point where boys become men and where virgin critics come out with a newfound appreciation for the atrocities that anime has brought upon us, and why their role as tastemakers is no longer a hobby, but a moral imperative for preventing the creation of further atrocity. The Asterisk War Sucks, Part 1 of 12. Welcome to the Thunderdome, bitch. Come out with half your blood gone and get your free “pink hair anime boob” tee-shirt.
The arc ends after a two-part comparison of a show titled “Chivalry of a Failed Knight” which has almost the exact same premise, plot, characters, and art style as The Ass Shitty War, and yet somehow didn’t suck. After that we get the video “ANIME SHIT NOW?!”. It’s this 40-minute epic whose thesis is this: all anime seasons have always had great shows, and they’ve always had shitty shows, and there are numerous historical and cultural reasons why we think that most anime nowadays is especially trashy. It’s exceptionally interesting. From there we get a series of videos that explains how to functionally differentiate the quality between good and bad shows starting from the first episode, some existential crises about what anime we should be watching and the limited amount of time we have to do so, and then a three-and-a-half hour podcast subplot about anime terminology and essential knowledge for dedicated anime fans.
The playlist then winds down into a few more low-key videos about Digibro himself, talking about the state of his YouTube channel, the state of his personality, and why he’s even bothering to do this whole reviewing business. It comes to a head in a depressing, yet strangely comforting video titled “Why Digibro Is (Still) After Dark”, where he makes bear the reality of his situation: there is a comedy, about the picture he is presenting, and yet this is the life he lives. Like it, or don’t. He exists. And that, I would like to speculate, is the real emotional core of his videos. Nothing matters. We’re all going to die. We might as well just… exist. Fucking. Exist. Because we don’t have any other options, and so long as we’re here, we might as well do what we want in this miserable life.
The playlist finally ends, and after nineteen motherfucking hours of dissertations about the medium of a foreign nation that nobody cares about except the obsessed and deranged, I feel reborn. The freshness I feel after getting over this massive undertaking, this willingness to take part in the ill mind of Digibro, is one you feel after some part of you inside has well and truly changed. I don’t know whether I truly know anything more about art than I did before embarking on this journey. I don’t know what knowledge I’ll take from this series. I haven’t applied it yet. But as to where I go from here? Forward, is all. Some place, somewhere, forward, towards an unknown destination, marching from place to place, ending only into the grave. And should I make a career as monumental as what Digibro has created, I hope to create my own crash course and contribute to literary tradition. Because that’s all I’m good at, and though my life is just as miserable, it is, indeed, my life.
Today’s NEW Article:
There sure is! Here I talk about how to do that. If you want to. That is. ☞
March Hangovers ―
April showers bring May flowers. But it’s March, so it doesn’t matter. ☞
February Hangovers ―
Celebrating the numerically meaningless milestone of 2020-02! ☞
January Hangovers ―
Now that we’re in Blade Runner times, I get to upload my opinions on the Information Superhighway. ☞
December Hangovers ―
I have finally received the greatest gift I can ask for: infinite rage. ☞
November Hangovers ―
It’s like bootleg winter but with less cheer and more crotchety old veterans. ☞
October Hangovers ―
Ignore the previous comment. I’m not done, after all. Not yet! ☞
September Hangovers ―
I am back, I am SO back, and I already feel done with it. ☞
July Hangovers ―
It’s the seventh lucky month, and it’s hot, hot, hot! Just like yours truly, of course. ☞
May Hangovers ―
Feeling a little too alive? Let the tide of Spring whisk you away into your grave. ☞
All my other crap:
Fuck Kotaku ―
Fuck Kotaku. ☞
Illegal Streaming: Good For The Soul! ―
Pirates are doing good things for the Internet. You should support them. ☞
Lemon Demon ― Spirit Phone ALBUM REVIEW ―
In which I parody Anthony Fantano and have a little crisis over meme music. ☞
The 2019 Frogesay Still Arbitrary Game Awards! ―
Wanna hear my opinions on 29 different video games? Wanna hear them again? ☞
The 2019 Solstice Recollection! ―
It’s time to brush off the sins of my past through a simple Solstice cleansing. ☞
Froge’s Dissertation on Criticism ―
A long article about my philosophy on being a critic. No, it’s not funny. ☞
Your Violent, Paranoid Delusions will get you Killed ―
Let’s talk about self-defence, and why what you know about it is WRONG. ☞
Hearthstone Sucks and Blizzard are Cunts ―
A polite and reasoned discussion on Blizzard being malicious twats. ☞
Linux: It That Betrays ―
Something broke on my machine, so that means EVERYONE hates Linux now. ☞
I’m Racist Now ―
I’m sorry to all my fans, but I have to come clean: I’m bisexual — I mean I’m racist. ☞
Halloweeny Musings ―
Featuring the inexorable passage of time. And dread. ☞
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Review: One Star ―
This is a rather silly movie that I didn’t like very much. ☞
Kotaku Sucks my Fat Froge Nuts ―
They actually have cloacas — oh, never mind. Watch me fuck this low-hanging fruit. ☞
Pixar Censors Boobies and that’s Terrible ―
Once upon a time, there was a plastic doll with large breasts… ☞
Putting to Rest an Uneasy Season ―
I don’t know what I’m doing here, but I might as well keep on doing it. ☞
And Here I Am Again ―
It turns out I didn’t write that novel after all. ☞
And Off I Go Again ―
I’m writing another novel. This means I’m not writing here. Oh, the tragedy! ☞
Short Talks on Bad Fandoms ―
Extensive analysis has determined that, yep, this is cringe, bro. ☞
Shaming the HTTP Zealots ―
You would think people who publish on the Internet would know how the Internet works. ☞
Defending Kiwi Farms and Christchurch ―
That’s it! I’m done with the façade! I’m joining the alt-right, RIGHT NOW! ☞
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Two Stars ―
That’s a rather long title for a rather short and unremarkable kid’s movie. Which I watched. Somehow. ☞
I Have Come Back to Beg ―
I didn’t end up writing that novel. I’m now writing another one. Yes, I’m serious. ☞
See You Later, Idiots ―
I’m leaving for June. See you in a month! ☞
Froge Finds the Jay Z Song ―
Jay Z makes music. He no longer has to as I found his one and only song. ☞
Fantastic Planet Review: Three Stars ―
The only cartoon to feature dozens of naked ladies while still staying classy. ☞
Alien Review: Four Stars ―
Time to review one of the most beloved science fiction films ever made. ☞
Reddit is a Scourge and must be Purged ―
Froge goes onto the Reddit front page and gets angry at things! He then throws up and cries. ☞
What Does Froge Say? ―
My half-assed “about” page where I explain what has already been explained about my cult. ☞